Responsibility

Aniela13

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One user made a comment in another thread about trust between students and the instructor (alright, many users in many threads have made those comments...but I read one just this afternoon that made me think of this ^_^ ), and I was reminded of a conversation I had with one of my instructors a few weeks ago.

Background: This instructor, Mr. C, is a very intense teacher--although he is outranked by a number of other instructors I'm quite comfortable working with, I get unbelievably nervous anytime I work with him because I know he demands perfection. I started this conversation with Mr. C because I wanted to make sure he didn't misinterpret my nerves with dislike or disrespect.

At any rate, he told me that he is so hard on everyone because he wants to prevent two scenarios from occurring...first, he would view it as his own failure if one of the students he works with went into a test and was told that he was not prepared...and second, he would view it as an even larger failure on his part if one of his students was attacked and proved unable to defend himself/herself. He told me "that would not be your failure--that would be mine, for failing to prepare you".

So what are your thoughts? As an instructor, would you view it as your own failure if one of your students was unable to defend himself? As a student, would you view it as your instructor's failure if you were unable to defend yourself?

Thanks!
~Ani
 

terryl965

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As an instructor I can only deliver techniques to all my students make them work on it to get it right and nothing more. I cannot be there in there hour of need and make sure they do everything right. I train everyone with the same attitude and I hope they all can put it together if need be.
 

JadecloudAlchemist

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An Instructor can only give the tools and knowledge to the student it is up to the student to use the tools and knowledge efficiently.

Like taking a class in woodshop. Teacher tells you about the tools how to use the tools the concepts of putting things together measuring before cutting. It is up to the student to practice this,take notes,listen.

If the student does sloppy craftmenship then it falls on his accord.
If the teacher does not give vital information such as measuring or how to use the tools correctly then it is the teacher's fault.

Same thing goes for martial arts.
The teacher points the direction it is up to the student to follow it,modify it,question it to come to a better understanding of it,or let it pass.
 

Thesemindz

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I would consider it my failure if I authorized a student to test when they were not ready. I would consider it my failure if I taught a student ineffective self defense and was dishonest about its efficacy.

But ultimately, the best I can do is provide them the tools and opportunity to succeed. Their ultimate performance is up to them.


-Rob
 

MJS

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One user made a comment in another thread about trust between students and the instructor (alright, many users in many threads have made those comments...but I read one just this afternoon that made me think of this ^_^ ), and I was reminded of a conversation I had with one of my instructors a few weeks ago.

Background: This instructor, Mr. C, is a very intense teacher--although he is outranked by a number of other instructors I'm quite comfortable working with, I get unbelievably nervous anytime I work with him because I know he demands perfection. I started this conversation with Mr. C because I wanted to make sure he didn't misinterpret my nerves with dislike or disrespect.

At any rate, he told me that he is so hard on everyone because he wants to prevent two scenarios from occurring...first, he would view it as his own failure if one of the students he works with went into a test and was told that he was not prepared...and second, he would view it as an even larger failure on his part if one of his students was attacked and proved unable to defend himself/herself. He told me "that would not be your failure--that would be mine, for failing to prepare you".

So what are your thoughts? As an instructor, would you view it as your own failure if one of your students was unable to defend himself? As a student, would you view it as your instructor's failure if you were unable to defend yourself?

Thanks!
~Ani

Instructors are not miracle workers. We don't have a magic wand that we can wave over the students, and instill in them, every ounce of knowledge possible and make them unbeatable fighting machines. The instructors do their part, by hopefully, key word there is hopefully, teaching effective SD. The students job is to practice.

I remember times when I'd work with a student, and the next week, when it was time for their mini test to see if they knew all their material, they wouldn't look good, so they didn't pass. When they asked why, I asked if they practiced, to which they usually said no. My reply was that that was why they didn't make it.

So, IMO, its a 2 way street. You need to be a good, effective teacher, and the students need to train hard. Also keep in mind, that just because we train, does not mean that we are unbeatable. I don't have a red S on my chest. :) So, while the arts should give us an edge, alot of it really comes down to the person.
 
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Aniela13

Aniela13

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Instructors are not miracle workers. We don't have a magic wand that we can wave over the students, and instill in them, every ounce of knowledge possible and make them unbeatable fighting machines. The instructors do their part, by hopefully, key word there is hopefully, teaching effective SD. The students job is to practice....
So, IMO, its a 2 way street. You need to be a good, effective teacher, and the students need to train hard. Also keep in mind, that just because we train, does not mean that we are unbeatable. I don't have a red S on my chest. :) So, while the arts should give us an edge, alot of it really comes down to the person.

Agreed...I've been an instructor, and am now a student again, so I can kinda see both sides. I suppose it surprised me that he would take our failures, as his students, so personally...but knowing that helps me understand him and his teaching style.

Thanks, all!
~Ani
 

shihansmurf

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Sometimes you learn interesting things from your students. My most senior student remarked to me in passing about an instructor that he trained with in another system while he was in college that was an outstanding performer the following..

"You can't teach someone your talent."

I've always been of the mindset that my students accomplishments are theirs and not mine. Don't misunderstand, I'm proud of them but not in the sense that I am performing vicariously through their exploits. Their success and failure belongs to them. My student's like to tease me that one of my often repeated training maxims is "You're the one walking the path, I'm just pointing the way".

I prepare my students to the best of my ability. I teach them everything that I can. I don't believe in the idea of withholding knowledge. I have, as an end state, with each student the goal of making each of them into better athletes than me. I want them to become better at karate than I am. They should want that as well. I give them all the knowledge I can and the rest is up to them.

If they perform well it is because they worked hard with the teachings I instilled. If they performed badly it is because of they didn't work hard with the teachings. I believe in treating students as responsible adults(I don't teach children) and thus my responsibility for them ends when I've imparted all I can.

Mark
 

IcemanSK

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Instructors are not miracle workers. We don't have a magic wand that we can wave over the students, and instill in them, every ounce of knowledge possible and make them unbeatable fighting machines. The instructors do their part, by hopefully, key word there is hopefully, teaching effective SD. The students job is to practice.

I remember times when I'd work with a student, and the next week, when it was time for their mini test to see if they knew all their material, they wouldn't look good, so they didn't pass. When they asked why, I asked if they practiced, to which they usually said no. My reply was that that was why they didn't make it.

So, IMO, its a 2 way street. You need to be a good, effective teacher, and the students need to train hard. Also keep in mind, that just because we train, does not mean that we are unbeatable. I don't have a red S on my chest. :) So, while the arts should give us an edge, alot of it really comes down to the person.


That's exactly it. It goes along with teaching anything. I teach to the best of my ability. The student need to work as hard as they can in order to learn. We learn from one another. The teacher needs to be flexible enough to learn how each student learns best. The student needs to be open to learn new things. In our first discussion, my current instructor asked me, "are you teachable?" After training for 20+ years, my answer still needs to be "yes" if I'm going to continue. No matter who I train with or learn from.
 

astrobiologist

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I don't feel responsible for my student's decisions and actions, but I do feel that I owe them the best education that I can give. How they use that education, and their own personal investment in it, is up to them.
 

MA-Caver

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While I'm not a instructor of a Martial Art what I DO instruct does involve a potentially dangerous activity (vertical caving). So IMO the level of responsibility is there. If I somehow have failed to teach adequately to my students and make them realize that they have achieved or not achieved this level of skill necessary to do whatever is before them then those students can become either seriously injured or killed.
To me it is the same level of responsibility for a MA/SD instructor to teach the student as far as they can go (or able to) and make them realize their present limitations so that they do not bite off more than they can chew when faced with an certain obstacle(s)/opponent(s)/attacker(s).
It is the student's responsibility to realize their limitations based on what they have learned. An honest student, one that is honest with themselves on what they have learned and what they are or not capable of doing will be able to continue on and not become a statistic. Teach what they know and teach it correctly and help ensure the student understands best as THEY may be able to and the teacher's work is done.
An instructor can only go as far as the student is willing to travel. When time comes for the two to part ways and go their separate paths then the instructor is released from the responsibility and the student assumes it in full on how they conduct themselves beyond their teachings.

My two bits... for what they're worth. :asian:
 

Ronin74

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I'd have to agree that ultimately, all any instructor can offer their student(s) is a solid education. You can train them to the best of your ability, and if they take to it, they learn. Beyond that, it's not in your hands.

I once had a student who became a victim of domestic violence. It was enough of a shock that I felt like I did fail as an instructor, and that perhaps I could have done more. However, as time passed, and in speaking with other instructors who've had similar occurences with their own students, I came to realize that I can't control what happens or what they do beyond the training sessions. In good conscience, I always told my students the importance of avoiding (and walking away from) situations where violence could occur, and that any of our self-defense training was strictly a last resort. All I could do was prepare them as best I could, and leave it at that.

Now I may be treading on a touchy subject here, but it became clear that no matter how well I trained her, that wasn't going to keep her from having a relationship with an abusive person. Whether I spoke to her as an instructor, friend, confidant, etc, in the end, I couldn't control the fact that she chose to be in that relationship.
 

shihansmurf

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Now I may be treading on a touchy subject here, but it became clear that no matter how well I trained her, that wasn't going to keep her from having a relationship with an abusive person. Whether I spoke to her as an instructor, friend, confidant, etc, in the end, I couldn't control the fact that she chose to be in that relationship.

Its an unfortunate situation and sadly all too common.

Our students are not puppets. As instructors we become emotionally invested in our students and it is always hard to watch a person that you care about make bad choices. Its worse when you know that there is a better option for them and, in spite of your best counsel, they make the choice that leads them into a situation like you described. Its difficult but understanding that you couldn't control that she chose to be in that relationship is important for you as a person as well as an instructor. Ultimately, we all choose our paths and own the choices that we make. I'm sorry your student had to own that one.

Mark

P.S. Still though, I despise the type of male that would do that sort of thing. I'm of the opinion that any male that would beat his spouse or significant other should have his face punched into the back of his head. Craven pieces of filth that they are it sickens me that people refer to them as men. A man doesn't do that.
Just my view.
 

Ronin74

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Its an unfortunate situation and sadly all too common.

Our students are not puppets. As instructors we become emotionally invested in our students and it is always hard to watch a person that you care about make bad choices. Its worse when you know that there is a better option for them and, in spite of your best counsel, they make the choice that leads them into a situation like you described. Its difficult but understanding that you couldn't control that she chose to be in that relationship is important for you as a person as well as an instructor. Ultimately, we all choose our paths and own the choices that we make. I'm sorry your student had to own that one.

Mark

P.S. Still though, I despise the type of male that would do that sort of thing. I'm of the opinion that any male that would beat his spouse or significant other should have his face punched into the back of his head. Craven pieces of filth that they are it sickens me that people refer to them as men. A man doesn't do that.
Just my view.
Thanks Mark. I don't think you're the only person on this forum who feels that way.

It's true that they're not puppets. Like you said, we can't help but be proud of them for the progress they make, and by that same token, it's hard not to make some kind of connection when you get along with your students.

It's not to say that there's a lack of professional conduct. By all means, the most important connection we make is the understanding that we're here to teach, and that they're here to learn, and that relationship be paramount to all other bonds between instructors and students.
 

Thesemindz

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Now I may be treading on a touchy subject here, but it became clear that no matter how well I trained her, that wasn't going to keep her from having a relationship with an abusive person. Whether I spoke to her as an instructor, friend, confidant, etc, in the end, I couldn't control the fact that she chose to be in that relationship.

I had a similar situation with a student.

She wanted me to explain to her how she could defend herself against an attack between her legs, so I started talking about striking options. Then she asked what to do if her arms were pinned over her head, so I transitioned to some grappling options from that position. Then she asked if there was some way she could defend herself from there without actually hurting the other guy. No matter what I told her, it wasn't the answer she wanted.

Eventually it became clear that she was being regularly date raped, and was unwilling to do anything about it. I told her that at some point, she was going to have to decide whether or not to take action, and that I couldn't make that decision for her. I gave her some pamphlets on domestic abuse, and continued to instruct her as best I could, but it was clear she wasn't going to defend herself.

The first lesson I always taught new students was that nothing they learned would be useful until they decided that their life had value, and that that value was worth protecting. Until a person comes to that conclusion on their own, it's just dancing.


-Rob
 

Thesemindz

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I despise the type of male that would do that sort of thing. I'm of the opinion that any male that would beat his spouse or significant other should have his face punched into the back of his head. Craven pieces of filth that they are it sickens me that people refer to them as men. A man doesn't do that.
Just my view.

I'm of the opinion that a man who beats his woman is just a man who hasn't killed her yet.

If anyone is in this situation, you have to leave. Man or woman. Get out. Or die. It's that serious.


-Rob
 

jks9199

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Domestic violence is a very complex problem; it's not simply a matter of deciding somone (male or female) has had enough and leaving. There's a lot of very difficult dynamics involved in the relationship.
 

Flea

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Then she asked if there was some way she could defend herself from there without actually hurting the other guy.
And that, children, is the crux of the biscuit. Any violent relationship is 98% psychological, and that hold is virtually impossible to break. The real goal is power, manipulation, and control; physical violence is a means to that end, and not the end itself.

Whatever your student was going through began way before any physical violence came into play, starting with tiny slights, building up her tolerance, so that by the time it came to rape it didn't seem like such a big deal. In the abuser's logical vortex she "deserved" it for rocking the boat in some way, and given enough time with the abuser most victims will defend that argument. I have boundless respect for the fact that she not only considered self-defense at all, but went out of her way to learn it. That shows AMAZING courage and clarity to see through all that brainwashing and intimidation to see what needed to be done at all.

I know it's hard, but you did exactly the right thing by trying to educate and leaving the decision up to her. Her abuser had systematically deprived her of her power and decision-making capacities. Getting bombastic would simply reduce you to the abuser's level by giving her marching orders. Any DV victim needs the time and space to make those choices themselves. This means that it may take a victim months or years to leave, but ultimately it's the only thing that works.
 

Thesemindz

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Domestic violence is a very complex problem; it's not simply a matter of deciding somone (male or female) has had enough and leaving. There's a lot of very difficult dynamics involved in the relationship.

True, and I wouldn't pretend it's otherwise.

But that doesn't change the fact that if you choose to stay, for whatever reason, you are choosing to stay in an abusive relationship. There are many difficult dynamics, but there are also many excuses that people use to stay in these relationships as well. I'm sure many of us have seen that happen more than once.


-Rob
 

Thesemindz

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I know it's hard, but you did exactly the right thing by trying to educate and leaving the decision up to her. Her abuser had systematically deprived her of her power and decision-making capacities. Getting bombastic would simply reduce you to the abuser's level by giving her marching orders. Any DV victim needs the time and space to make those choices themselves. This means that it may take a victim months or years to leave, but ultimately it's the only thing that works.

You're right, which is why I didn't order her to defend herself or leave. I gave her what I could, and left the decisions to her. I didn't see that there was anything else I could do.

But I didn't see her doing much either.


-Rob
 
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